Welcome, dear reader, to possibly the longest fanfiction that I have ever written (or at least chapter). Admittedly this was meant to be a oneshot, but it started getting so long that I realised it would maybe be better if it were in two parts (or at least that is what I am planning...). Just a few quick notes about this story:

1. Smoking: I am not encouraging it at all, really I'm not, but it is supposed to be symbolic (or something like that) of Albus' loss of innocence (in a way) but also his addictive personality, otherwise I would have had to have used drugs or something like that which is possibly more offensive. Sorry I can't say anything else, otherwise it would spoil some of the plot, but if you don't like it, please just ignore it.

2. Tenses: The story occasionally goes into a different tense, this is on purpose (well sort of).

3. Swearing: Yes, there is some in this story, I've rated it T for now but tell me if you think the rating should be raised.

4. The Elder Wand: I have used the film's version of its fate.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it!

- 10th of April 2012

EDIT: I changed the title of the story. Next part should be coming soon.

- 11th of August 2012


Infamy

Albus is half-way though his first year at Hogwarts when he gives up trying to talk to his brother. He didn't understand what the problem is, but apparently what house you are in is a big thing at Hogwarts. Especially if you're in Slytherin.

–/

Him, Malfoy, Avery and a boy called Nott are all in a dorm together. When the First Year Slytherins go to their dorm on the first night of term, Albus' dormmates do not even spare him a look.

–/

"You're going to turn out evil now. Just like Voldemort." James hissed at his brother in the dark corridor, both were alone, and heading in opposite directions.

"What are you talking about James?" The darkness hid his brother's teasing smile, and Albus could not understand why James was saying such horrible things to him. "I'm still the same!" James however did not reply, and walked in the other direction from him. "I'm not like them!" He shouted desperately after his brother, but the other boy ignored him and turned the corner. Hot, fat tears began to drip down his face, but he did not make a sound as he pushed his back against the wall and sunk down.

–/

"Potter?" The dark haired boy was sitting on his bed reading before he was going to go to sleep, and he turned to face the speaker, slightly surprised.

"Yes?" The speaker was Malfoy, someone who had not even spoken to Albus since Albus had told him that he 'never ever wanted to be friends with a Death Eater!'.

"Do you hate yourself?"

"What?" Albus knew that Malfoy was probably doing this just to wind him up.

"Well, you're in the same house as Voldemort. Your brother will not speak to yo-"

"How do you know that!" Albus interrupted. Malfoy carried on, pretending not to have heard the question.

"I don't think your cousin is speaking to you. And you're having a conversation with a Death-Eater's son." Shifting his position on his bed slightly, Albus pondered the question.

"Well, I don't think that the house makes the person. My father-"

"I don't care about what your father thinks."

"Okay. Well, there have been good Slytherins haven't there? And bad Gryffindors, so really I don't think it matters. And, well most of the other houses are pretty horrible to us, so maybe we're the good guys here." Albus paused, "James is a dick. Rose is stubborn. I'm sure I'll get over it." With that, the dark haired boy picked up the book he had gently placed on his lap, and began reading again.

–/

He gave a hiss of frustration when the contents of his bag spilt over the floor for the second time in the day, and quickly turned on his heel, wand at the ready. He didn't really know any effective spells that could threaten someone, but hopefully his reputation as a Slytherin would help him find the guilty person. A Third Year Gryffindor gives a nervous look at him, and Albus glares.

"I would appreciate if you would stop doing that," his voice if full of a venom he did not even know he had, "otherwise you might find yourself in a sticky situation at some point." He says after he walks up to the frozen girl. She gave him a nervous look, and then pulled out her own wand.

"And what are you going to do then?"

"Nothing. Not now at least." The girl shifted backward, and then fixed him with a glare. Other students are passed them by, unaware of the confrontation beside them.

"Well. Don't blame me. Your brother said he would give me a galleon if I did it when I saw you." The girl could clearly see Albus' crestfallen expression, and she gave a laugh and walked away. Albus stood in the same position for a moment longer, until he walked back to his things which were scattered in the now-empty corridor, and began to gather them up in his arms to walk to his next lesson.

–/

Sometimes Albus cries at night, when he thinks no one is awake, and he begins to feel something he had rarely felt before for his brother, hatred.

–/

School work is Albus' life, he tries to take up as much of his time with it to distract from the fact that he had no friends. He sees Rose in the library quite often, but she is rarely working, just gossiping with friends, and he finds himself beginning to hate her for having friends.

–/

He sighed and crossed out the previous incorrect statement from the paper and wrote a new line. The Charms essay was due in for three days time, but it did not hurt to start early. He did not think himself an intelligent boy, but one advantage of not having any friends meant he had plenty of time to study, and he had some of the best marks in the whole year. The Slytherin Common Room was quiet, as it was usually and he found his eyes drifting towards the fireplace in the corner of the room. He did not think he would have liked this room, but he found that it's quiet and relaxing atmosphere suited him quite well.

The was a sound as the door slid open, and loud voices could be heard outside. Albus clenched his teeth, perhaps he should amend his statement, most of the time it had a quiet and relaxing atmosphere. There was bark of laugher and Malfoy stumbled into the room with Nott, the two looked at him quickly, but resumed their conversation. They looked as if they were not going to leave the room any time soon, and Albus gave a huff of frustration.

"Would you two mind being a little quieter?" He asked, both turned to him, and gave him a curious look. His heart beat a little faster in his chest, this was probably the most he had said to them since the Christmas holidays. The nodded, but it seemed as if they paid little attention to what he had said as they continued their conversation at the same level. "Didn't you hear what I said?" Albus asked after a short while, and Nott smirked.

"What are you doing that's so important?" The boy strolled over and cast an eye casually over Albus' work. "What the hell are you doing that for? It's not in until Thursday." Malfoy hung behind Nott, clearly nervous.

"Augustus, just leave him alone." The other boy shook his head, and the blond boy gave a huff, Albus remained silent and simply looked up at Nott. The dark haired boy sneered and bent down to him.

"Why do you never talk?" Bright blue eyes looked over his face and he felt as if he were being inspected. "I suppose you think you're too good for us." For a moment Albus thought he could see a flash of sadness in the other boy's eyes, but he blinked and it was gone, but it was that which spurred Albus into talking.

"I don't!" He suddenly blurted out. The other boy looked slightly shocked, and Albus gave a sigh. "It's just my brother. He'll be awful to me if I talk to you."

"Bullshit."

"It's not."

"Your brother is not in Slytherin is he?"

"No." Albus replied confused.

"He doesn't hide in our dorm does he?"

"No..."

"Well, how come you don't speak to us here then, or in our dorm?" His mind raced to find an answer to that.

"I've had a conversation with Malfoy. And you guys weren't exactly welcoming to me."

"That's because you called us Death Eaters on the train!" Malfoy suddenly spoke up, in the corner of the Common Room the fire gave a hiss and all three First Years jumped suddenly.

"Why are you even talking to me anyway. You clearly don't like me."

"What are you talking about? This is probably the longest conversation I've ever had with you." Nott quickly said and he moved to where a chair was and sat down. His hands lay clasped on the wooden table and Albus lay down his quill.

"You all hate my dad. And you all hate my brother. And you called my aunt a mudblood." Nott looked at him curiously, unclasped his hands and ran one through his hair.

"You're not your family though."

"They're still my relatives though."

"We're not defined by family. Sure, family makes us until we're eleven, but then we can make our own choices. We're away from all of them."

"I'm not." Albus replied grimly. "They'd all tell my family out of school if I tried to make friends with you. And then they'd think that I'd be going around calling everyone mudbloods, and cursing them."

"I don't think they would." Albus gave a shrug and leaned back into his chair.

"Whatever."

–/

Albus quickly closed the door behind him as he walked into the First Year Slytherin dorm, Nott and Malfoy were away, and Avery sat on his bed quietly, his head buried in a book. The boy did not acknowledge Albus' entrance and he made his way to his bed. They sat together in silence, Albus tidying his messy area, and then Albus made a decision.

"What are you reading?" His voice pierced the silent room and Avery looked at him in surprise. The brown eyed boy fixed him with a suspicious expression, and opened his mouth to speak.

"What does it matter to you?"

"It doesn't really." The other boy shook his head slowly, and shut the book.

"Charms actually, I'm reading up for that essay."

"Oh. I've done all the notes for it, you can borrow them if you'd like." For the second time in the space of five minutes Avery looked at him curiously.

"Sure." And just like that, the first seeds of friendship were sown.

–/

"So do you have any friends in Slytherin?" His mother turned back to him from the passenger seat of the car, James' elbow was prodding uncomfortably into his side and Albus pushed it away before he answered.

"Yeah. A few."

"And the rest of them haven't caused you any trouble?"

"Not really. One of the girls was a bit harsh to me at first, but they're alright."

"What was her name?" His father spoke suddenly.

"Maria Zambini."

"So all the usual suspects are in Slytherin then?" He asked. Albus felt a tinge of annoyance, but pushed it down, quickly he changed the subject.

"Why do we have to use the car? Why can't we just floo?"

"Because it's always a problem to get a permit. And petrol's less expensive than floo powder." James gave a snort and Albus couldn't understand why. He ignored it and closed his eyes.

"Tell me we'll be there soon."

"Albus, we've driven before, you've never made that kind of complaint before."

"But it's such an annoying method of getting around." He said as he opened his eyes. The conversation died of at that point, and Albus stared pass his sister out of the window at the elegant houses in the area of London they were driving though. He was pretty crap at directions, and although he had made the journey multiple times before, it still did not mean that he had any idea where they were.

But finally they arrived in front of Grimmald Place. The house had not changed since the winter holidays, and the only different were the spring flowers just beginning to make their up from the ground, although the weather was still quite cold. The car was left parked by the next-door house, and it took a moment for two of the other houses in the street to separate and reveal Albus' home. Soon enough the family were back in the gloomy hall of the house. Although Albus' mother was constantly complaining about the dark and depressing state of the house, Albus quite liked it. It had atmosphere, and a nice garden. His parents had threatened moving hundreds of times but it was apparently the safest house in the whole of London, if not England. Albus trudged quietly up the stairs towards his room, but it did not take long for the curtains on the portrait of Mrs Black to fly open, and for her to begin her constant tirade.

"Hallo Mrs Black." Albus said quickly, and the figure in the portrait gave him a kindly look.

"Hello Albus, how are you?" He flashed a brilliant smile, and replied that he was well thank you, how was she. And they had a civil conversation, until his brother came barging up the stairs with a mug of tea and almost spilt it onto the painting.

Even before Albus had come home at Christmas and told the portrait that he was a Slytherin, he had always been the one who was able to calm her down. Apparently he reminded her of her son when he was his age. He was not sure whether he should take this as a compliment, considering that one spent over a decade in Azkaban, and the other was a Death-Eater who converted, and was then killed. But it allowed him some power over the household, as he was the only one who could, to quote James, 'shut the hag up.'

However, James' rude entrance to the scene set her off again, and Albus quickly bid her good-bye, and practically ran up the next flight of stairs to his room. His room was decorated in Slytherin colours, and now he was thankful he had not been given the room next door which had gaudy red and gold everywhere. It was funny now, when he thought about it, that he had ever thought he would make it to Gryffindor when his entire life up to that point had been pointing to the fact he would get into Slytherin, not only the decoration of his room, but also certain other subtle things, the fact that the half dead House-elf Kreacher seemed to be in love with him but no one else in the family, and the fact that Mrs Black liked him, but also his general demeanour and lack of bravery.

It did not take him long to kick off his shoes and flop into the gigantic double bed. The headboard had the Black family crest engraved on it, and it made him wonder why his father and mother had decided to keep the thing. But he was grateful, it was possible the best in the house. Or it at least had the best mattress. He gave sigh and melted into the comfortable bed, and before he knew it his mum was calling him down for supper.

–/

Although Albus had finally made friends, he sometimes felt awkward around the other Slytherins, especially Zambini, who had a habit of glaring at him. The train chugged slowly along, and Albus gave a sigh and gave up reading his book.

"So what did you do over the holidays?" The other boy glanced up at him from his book, and closed his too, but not before folding over a page.

"We went away to Italy. My family has a house there." Albus gave a nod, and felt a pang of jealousy.

"You're so lucky you got to go away." Avery gave sound that sounded affirmative.

"You stayed in London didn't you?"

"Yeah, it was fucking boring. I wish we could go away, but mum and dad are always working." He picked at the bottom of his shirt. "I mean, it seems as if they always have an excuse not to go abroad."

"It's not that interesting. Italian wizards are kind of backwards, they go around in togas and everything."

"Togas? As in the skirt things."

"Yeah. I mean, some wear trousers, but most of the time it is togas. The shops are pretty crap as well. And they don't like muggleborns." Albus raised a curious eyebrow.

"I wouldn't think you'd be bothered by that, considering Nott." Avery gave a shake of his head.

"It's all a bit distasteful though."

"True." Bored of the conversation Albus began to look out the window, although darkness had set upon the countryside by now, and in the distance he could make out the tall towers and bright windows of Hogwarts.

"We're almost there." A broad grin found it's way onto his face, just four months ago, Albus could not imagine having this reaction coming back to Hogwarts, but now he couldn't wait to be sitting down at the Slytherin table, with people he finally called friends.

–/

Dear Albus,

The holidays so far have been boring, I am looking forward to returning to school though. Italy (as per usual) is hot and smelly, and the locals have become even worse this year, I feel as if I have heard the word 'mezzosangue' enough to last a life time. Although I don't doubt Malfoy, Nott and Zambini will pollute our poor ears with the English translation this year as they have for the last two.

Mother has been a bore, and wouldn't let me go swimming in the sea this afternoon, and Father has refused to get involved. I have no idea what is wrong with the woman sometimes. I went fishing a while ago, and caught a tuna (I think you can probably gather how exciting my holidays are...). We did go and visit some interesting ruins at Pompeii a while ago.

Merlin, I wish your dad had let you come out here this year, although your family trip to Norway sounds fun (although I guess you had to put up with Rose and James). Anyway, if you're back in London before me, would you be able to buy me some quills and paper at some point, I'll pay you back at school, but I don't think that I'll get a chance to go down Diagon Alley before I go back to school since Mother sent the elf to get my books a few days ago, and I forgot to tell it. Thanks.

Anyway, I hope to see you soon (only a week left of the holidays).

Your friend,

Michael

–/

The rest of the family had gone to the zoo, but Albus had refused to visit it for the hundredth time in his life, and so was in the house alone. Aside from Kreacher, but the elf would not disturb him. The lights in his room were off, and the only source of light flooding in was from the window. The summer heat had descended upon the house, and Albus lay on his bed, unmoving. The heat had got to him, but he also felt too lazy to even be bothered to move. Until he remembered what he had to do before he left for school.

He rolled over, and pushed himself up and then clambered off the high bed. The wooden floor creaked underneath him as he padded across the room, and up the stairs until he reached the attic of the house. As quietly as he could he waved his wand in the direction of the hatch, and wooden floor boards from the floor floated into the air, and arranged themselves into steps, he leaned over the bannister to check to make sure that there was no one there and then walked up the newly made stairs, he reached the top, and with another wave of his wand the stairs disappeared and the hatch closed. It took him a moment to find the candle he had left last time he had been in the attic, and he lit it with the matches in his pocket soon after. The light illuminated the wooden floors, and objects surrounding him. Most were covered in white sheets, and he could make the furniture beneath them.

This was the last outpost of the Blacks, here were their old treasures and books. Ever since he had discovered this place, with the unknowing help of Kreacher who had stored all the old objects up here, he had been fascinated. But now he needed to find a few things. The candle flickered slightly as he walked, casting shadows in corners, and he had to stop for a moment to make sure that there was not another person with him in the small room. Steeling himself he moved over to the far corner of the attic, towards an old book shelf and trunk, and moved the candle and his face closer towards the shelf. He looked at a list he had written on his hand, and pulled out the relevant books, he did not want them for the Dark Arts they contained, but rather for the protective spells, that weren't entirely legal, but hardly dangerous. Slowly he placed the candle and holder on top of the shelf and quickly scanned through the books, just to check they were the right ones.

Satisfied he picked up the candle again and moved towards the trunk, he had finally found the key after months of looking underneath the floorboard in his room. The trunk was a dark green and had R.A.B. written on the top of it. He slid the key in and turned it, there was a click and the top of the trunk rose up slowly, with one hand holding the candle and the other on the top of the lid, he pushed it up and peered inside. The trunk was almost full, and the smell of mould and decay hit him suddenly. There were books haphazardly strewn on old robes and Hogwarts uniform. But resting on the top of all of that there was a wand, he pushed the lid farther backwards and let go and tentatively he moved his hand towards the wand and picked it up. Nothing happened, so he gave it a wave and a shower of sparks escaped the wand. Comparing it with his own, he saw that it looked remarkably similar and he pocketed the object.

Interested in the rest of the trunk now, he pulled out the books noting that they were Seventh Years books and piled them neatly next to the trunk. Next to come out was the clothing, and he saw that most of it was Hogwarts uniform, but there was also a robe with the Black family crest on. The uniform looked different from what he wore, especially the jumpers and the robes. Whereas his uniform was pretty much all black and grey, with only green ribbing at the top of the grey jumper to distinguish him a Slytherin, so as to not show up house differences, the uniform he held was the opposite. He took the family robes, and a set of the old uniform and separated them from the rest of the clothes and placed them on the floor next to him, before taking the rest of the clothes out and dumping them by the books. Underneath the mess there were assorted collections of items: novels, posters, little trinkets, letters and cards, mouldy owl food, and more. A shiny silver pocket watch stood out of the mess and he pulled it out, and placed it by the books he had taken from the shelf.

The letters had been tied together with a piece of strings, and pulled out the yellowing paper envelopes and looked at who they had all been addressed to. In different handwriting, they all said the same name 'Regulus' . He put the letters in the pile where he had left the books and robes, and placed the rest of the things back into the trunk. His family would probably be home soon, and he felt weird rifling though a dead man's trunk. He gathered the robes, letters, pocket watch and jumper into his hands and realised that he would not be able to carry the candle this way. He placed the objects in his hands on the floor again and picked up the candle and took it to where the hatch was, he could vaguely make out the trunk and books from where he was standing, and walked back over and bent down to close the trunk, and lock it. After he did that he picked up the objects and went back to the source of light. He pulled out one of the wands from his pocket and waved it, opening up the hatch, and waited for the wood to arrange itself into stairs. Once they did, he began to walk down them, and blew out the candle casting the room into darkness before descending down the stairs.

–/

The hat shouted out 'Gryffindor!' after five seconds of being on Lily's head, and Albus felt a pang of sadness as his sister joyfully walked over to the cheering Gryffindor table. She had, thus far, not been corrupted by James' propaganda, but now she was in Gryffindor there was no saying what her ideas of him were going to be by the end of term. Her eyes drifted over to him, and he could see a flash of sadness go across them, but then she smiled at him and he grinned back and lifted up his empty glass slightly in a mock toast. He could see her give a giggle and then turn back to the rest of her house.

"Tough luck mate." Nott whispered to him as he thumped him on the back, in what was presumably a friendly gesture.

"It's fine." Augustus gave a smile and turned to Scorpius. Albus stared into the empty bottom of the glass as the sorting went on, and he had to hold back a tear. He didn't know why he felt so upset, but it just felt as if he was completely alone in the family now, because the rest of them had been compartmentalised into their perfect little box and he was sitting outside of it. Unless Hugo was sorted into Slytherin, but he highly doubted that, the little brat was a Gryffindor through and through. But that did not stop him from watching with enthusiasm as his younger cousin was sorted... Into Gryffindor.

–/

"Albus?"

"Yeah?"

"What is this?" Albus turned from his desk to where the voice was coming from and saw Michael standing by his bed, leafing though a book. Albus bent down slightly to se what book it was, and recognised the green cover immediately. In sliver writing on the spine of the book the title of the book could be made out, 'Foulest Magick', Albus had to admit, the author hadn't been very creative when they named the book, but the contents were true to the name. "More importantly, where on earth did you get this?"

He pushed his chair backwards as he stood up and walked over to where the other boy was standing, smoothly he pulled the book out of his friend's hands and looked briefly at the page he had been looking at, it showed a man exploding from a spell, and closed it.

"Does it matter?"

"Yeah, a bit. Why do you have that book here?" Albus shrugged.

"I don't know. It has some pretty useful stuff in."

"Which is illegal."

"I got it from home." Michael raised an eyebrow.

"In Harry Potter's house?" He gave a sigh and nodded.

"We've got all the Black's old books stored upstairs." He paused and ran a hand through his hair. "Look, it's not as if I'm exactly using any of these, it was more for the protective hexes that I got them, but the other stuff is interesting."

"And illegal."

"Come on, I'm Harry Potter's son. What are they going to accuse me of?" Michael grimaced slightly and looked distastefully at the book.

"Albus, this isn't just a game, this is illegal, and it messes you up. Just look at my grandfather." Michael's grandfather was in Azkaban for what he had done in the Second Wizarding War, but Albus simply gave a dismissive wave.

"I'm not about to start practising those spells. Honestly it's just for academic reasons." Again, Albus paused and fiddled with his hands, "I got it from the same place I got the old school uniform."

"The one McGonagall wanted to ban you from wearing?"

"Yeah that one."

"Why do you even wear it?" Albus gave another shrug.

"It looks different. And it's still technically school uniform." Michael did not reply, and then fixed his eyes back on the offending book.

"Albus I don't get why you have this here."

"I don't know. Merlin, it's just interesting, and it's hardly as if it's dangerous unless I go crazy and start trying to cast those kind of spe-" The door opened, and Scorpius and Augustus walked in, the two were laughing about something and Albus tried to subtly place the book back on his bed. The two paused, and looked at the other two boys strangely.

"Were we interrupting something?" Malfoy said, with an eyebrow raised.

"No. Nothing. We were just talking about something." Albus replied as he moved the sheets over the book, causing Malfoy's eyes to land on it.

"What's there?"

"Nothing." Inwardly Albus cursed, and he could see Michael slowly gulp.

"Oh come on Albus. What's there?" Nott spoke up and the dark haired boy moved towards where Albus was sitting.

"It's, it's his diary." Michael said just as Nott reached them, and Albus gave a nod. Unbeknownst to the other boys Scorpius had moved around to the other side of the bed and snatched the book from underneath the sheets before Albus could stop him.

"Sco-"

"Interesting diary you have." The blond haired boy said as he causally looked though the green covered book, and Albus muttered a curse as Augustus moved towards Scorpius. "Great illustrations," Scorpius muttered as he held up the book and showed a particularly gruesome moving picture of a witch being burnt, "where did you get this?"

"His house." Michael said before Albus could explain.

"Whatever, who am I to judge?" Scorpius said as he closed the book and dropped it onto the unmade bed.

"What is it?" Nott asked and Scorpius explained. Albus could see excitement flicker in the boy's grey eyes as he was told about the book, but the boy also looked slightly surprised.

"I mean, Albus I guess I could kind of expect. But er, Michael, I thought you found all of this stuff," he said as he motioned to the book, "'distasteful.'" He mimicked the well spoken boy's accent and he could see Michael sneer.

"I just found out about this. But as Scorpius just said, who am I to judge?" Augustus looked between Albus and Michael, and then focus his attention on Albus.

"Can I borrow it some time?" Slightly taken aback Albus stayed silent for a moment.

"Yeah." Nott nodded and then Albus added afterwards, "But if you get caught with it, it's not mine."

"I know."

"No seriously. I can't get caught with this, and I don't want anyone else's stupidity to get me caught." Nott nodded against seriously and then Michael interjected.

"Correct me if I'm wrong, but you were the one who left it open on your bed." The green eyed boy gave a mock glare to Michael and then smiled.

"Well, it was a learning curve wasn't it."

–/

He could not believe his eyes when he read the Seeker try outs list (the previous Seeker had quit citing that she had to focus on her work, but it was probably because Slytherin could never seem to win a game), but some how- and he had no idea how- Malfoy had gained the Seeker position. A pang of annoyance seeped through him, but he swallowed his pride, smiled, and went to congratulate him.

–/

Although Albus had promised Michael- and himself- that he would never practise many of the offensive spells in the books he had found in the attic, the summer before his Fourth Year he found himself casting one of the spells with the spare wand he had got from the attic, out of morbid fascination, and from there it was a slippery slope.

–/

Albus stared at himself in the mirror, and ran a hand though his unwashed hair. His eyes looked sunken in, and his face gaunt. Hopefully it was not because of the spells he had been practicing over the Summer Holidays. He gave a grimace and walked out of the small loo onboard the train. The people around him looked at him, and then went back to whatever they were doing, but he could not help feeling a pang of paranoia as they did. It did not take him long to find his friends and they too looked up as he sat down.

"You look like hell by the way." Zambini said, without dilemma.

"Yeah. I've not been sleeping well." The girl stared at him for a while longer, and again Albus felt worried.

"Why? What happened over the summer?"

"Nothing really, we went to Italy for a while. Mum didn't let me go and see Avery, which pissed me off a bit. But er, that was it." He found himself fiddling with his hands, and forced himself to stop and leant back into his seat. "Where is he by the way?"

"No idea." Scorpius told him. The blond boy had one arm casually draped across the armrest on one side, and in the other he held a wand, which he was twirling around his fingers. Albus looked up as the door to the last carriage of the train opened and his brother stood in the doorway.

"What the fuck is he doing here?" The last carriage did not have compartments, and for some reasons the Slytherins had always sat there- Albus' dad had told him that it was the same in his day- and it was unlikely to see other houses wondering around near there. His brother looked around the carriage distastefully, until his eyes landed on Albus, and he walked with purpose towards him. There was some muttering from the other Slytherins, but James ignored it and stopped by Albus, who was causally looking at his nails. James was silent for a moment, and Albus then lifted his head up. "Yes?"

"Albus I need to speak to you." The black haired boy looked back and motioned for him to talk. "Not here." James gave a glance to the other Slytherins, and Albus could not help rolling his eyes.

"What is it then?" A hand grabbed his arm, and pulled him up harshly up, once he was standing Albus found himself being dragged out of the carriage and into an empty compartment. James sat down, and then motioned for Albus too as well. "That was a bit rude." He said offhandedly.

"You're a disgrace." The snide remark took Albus aback and he waited for a moment before he replied.

"Did you drag me in here just to say that?" James fixed him with a glare and readjusted the Prefect badge on his robe.

"No. I 'dragged' you in here because I overheard mum and dad talking."

"Big deal."

"It is actually. Albus, there's a new Death-Eater type organisation being set up, and they think Avery's dad is the leader." He processed the information quickly and then looked down at his nails and picked them.

"And I should care?" A cloud of anger passed over James' face, and his hand clenched.

"Yes. You should bloody care!" His eyes drifted from James and out the window to the passing scenery, James grabbed his hands and Albus' eyes moved back towards his brother. "Don't you even care?"

"Not really. I wouldn't think that Michael would get involved in it."

"You're in danger."

"No I'm not, if anything I am in the least danger possible out of the three of us." He pulled his hands from his brother's grasp, and stood. "If anything, you should be worried."

"Why?"

"I'm in Slytherin. I'm probably the last person they think about when they think of targets. And I'm friends with Michael. You however, are Mr Gryffindor Golden Boy, Prefect, and all around symbol of what they hate. You have a Muggleborn for a girlfriend etcetera etcetera..."

"What's wrong with having a Muggleborn for a girlfriend?" James asked, eyes narrowed.

"Nothing. I'm just saying that out of all the Potters I seem like the one who would sympathise with them most. I'm probably more in danger of being recruited than being attacked."

"And do you sympathise with them?"

"Even if I did, I would not join them." With that, Albus turned away from his brother and left the compartment, for a moment he stood and thought about the information he had just heard, before returning to his friends. He settled down by them and rested his elbows on the table.

"What was that about?" Nott asked, and he shook his head.

"Nothing really. He told me I was a disgrace, the usual." The others nodded sympathetically before the conversation moved towards more interesting topics.

–/

How he ached at this moment in time to cast a well aimed Twisting Curse at the brat that was insulting him, the Third Year Gryffindor had muttered 'coward' as he walked past, and it took everything in Albus not to use one of Dark curses he knew. Instead he turned, and focused his eyes on the short boy, slowly he moved towards the moving boy and grabbed him on his shoulder, spinning him around to face him.

"What did you just say?" The boy looked slightly scared at being caught out, but gulped and then spoke.

"Coward." Albus smiled at the slight shake he could detect in the boys voice.

"Am I?"

"Y-you're a Slytherin." Albus knew that the smile on his face was not kind, and he glared.

"And that makes me a coward?" A short bubble of laughter escaped his mouth and the students passing by him stopped. Among them he could see Rose, her eyes looked angry, and he gave her a sarcastic nod of acknowledgement. Turning his attention back to the Third Year. "You know. I would think that people might be able to get over these stupid house rivalries after all of these years. But it appears not." He pulled him hand away from the shoulder of the boy and then simply said, "Apologise then." The Gryffindor looked back at him defiantly, and Albus leaned closer to him, and whispered in his ear. "Apologise, otherwise I can assure you, your year might not be too good." The boy paled slightly, and gave the slightest nod.

"I-I'm sorry."

"And you'll never do it again?"

"Ye-" But the boy was interrupted by another voice.

"Oh, for goodness sake Albus!" He twisted around, and saw a girl with bright red hair coming towards him. "Ignore him Jenkins."

"How very kind of you Rose to butt in where you're not needed." And he added under his breath, "As per usual," He turned away from her, and back to Jenkins. "Come on Jenkons answer me."

"It's Jenkins."

"Lets not dally, otherwise my favourite cousin might get angry. And I wouldn't want to upset her." Quietly, and very quietly indeed, the small boy muttered out an agreement that he wouldn't do it again, until Albus stared at him for a moment longer, and Jenkins repeated himself slightly louder. Albus gave the boy and ironic hearty pat on his back and shooed him off. "Rosy. Wasn't he so lucky that you intervened. Going for Prefect next year then?"

"Fuck you, Albus." His green eyes glinted mischievously, and he smirked.

"That's incest Rose. I'm really not into that you know." The crowd of people had started dispersing, although some idiots still remained, and Albus looked at them. "Bugger off. Nothing to see here." There were some grumbles, but they went, and soon enough they were standing in an almost empty hall. Rose looked slightly red, but then simply rolled her eyes and walked off. "Rose Weasley. Saviour of Gryffindor!" He yelled after her retreating form, and sighed slightly, as there was not reaction, and walked off in the opposite direction.

–/

Albus lit his cigarette off Nott's and handed the other white and orange object back to the other boy, and settled back onto the glass of the back of Greenhouse No. 4, which conveniently hid them from teachers, as the nicotine rushed through him, making him feel dizzy. The wind blew harshly past them and a shiver ran through him. He turned to the boy next to him, who was staring at the moon.

"What are you thinking about?" Augustus shook his head, and took a puff of the cigarette he held in his hand, the grey smoke escaping his mouth elegantly.

"Nothing really." Albus gave a snort, and copied Augustus' action, enjoy the burn he felt in his throat.

"Can I ask you something?"

"Yeah."

"Would you judge me because I was casting dark spells?"

"Not really, why?" His hand moved up to his mouth and he inhaled again.

"Well. I was just thinking, why did Avery force me to promise him that I wouldn't cast any of the offensive spells in that book?" Nott shook his head, and shrugged.

"I don't know. I guess he doesn't want you to get in trouble." He turned to Albus. "Why, are you?"

"Not really. I've cast one or two of them twice." He was lying through his teeth of course, but it did not matter, not really, the matter was that he had broken Avery's trust.

"What did it feel like?"

"I don't know. There was this rush, incredible really, but nothing too massive. I mean, it's not like anything I've felt before, but it wasn't like I felt like I had to do them again. Nothing like what they teach in DADA." The other boy nodded and inhaled again.

"Yeah, I mean, they're hardly dangerous, I guess they're bad if you start actually casting them on people." A hollow laugh escaped Albus' mouth and he took a drag. "Listen, I don't judge you. My family wants me to stay away from them because of our reputation, but I've never listened to them anyway."

"I know."

–/

"But I don't understand Albus," Avery's hands were gripped tight around the banister of his bed, "why would you do this? Why would you even cast them?" Albus sat on his bed, his sheets were in a sprawl around him and he shook his head.

"I don't know! How did you even find out about this anyway?"

"Because I can bloody see!" Avery let go of the bannister and paced up and down a small distance. "You come back to school after the holidays and your hair is greasy, your eyes sunken and I can see it. You have this feeling about you." Albus remained silent during Avery's tirade, and he focused on the bits of dust caught in the light of the candles. "Your eyes just look so," he paused trying to find a word, "dark almost. There's a sort of... shadow across them."

"Why do you even care?"

"Because I've seen what they've done! All of my damned family has that shadow, and that feeling. Did you think I was stupid?" He stopped walking and raised one hand to his head and ran it through his hair, when he spoke again he was much quieter. "They change you, they'll take away any light or goodness in you and spit you out again a bitter and twisted person."

"I'm not even casting them on people!"

"Then why are you screwing around with them?"

"Just in case." He looked down and Michael did not reply for a moment.

"Do whatever you want to Albus, I'm not your parents." With that he turned on his heel and exited the small dormitory, and Albus felt an odd need to cry. He pulled the sheets tighter around him, and shuffled down the bed before lying down to continue his nap. Really, he just couldn't understand what was so bad about what he was doing. It was not as if he were attacking people, all it was was simple curiosity, and the spells he knew could come in handy one day. Slowly he closed his eyes and turned over onto his side before waving his hand and the drapes on his bed slid shut casting him into darkness.

–/

Dear Dad,

I'm thinking of staying with Nott this holiday. Well actually, I'm not thinking of staying with him, I am. I know you're going to say that he's a bad influence or whatever, but really I don't particularly care. I know Mum won't mind, and I don't see the problem.

Love,

Albus

–/

Augustus' family was actually very nice, and the Easter holidays this year passed faster than ever. They had not spared any expense in accommodating him, and they did not seem to be torturing Muggleborns in their basement. Nevertheless Albus continued to write one line letters to his father confirming that he was still alive, and not abducted or whatever else his dad could think of happening to him whilst he was in the Notts' care.

To-day was the last day before they had to go back to school, and Augustus' father had let them go to Diagon Alley by themselves. The two boys were sat eating ice-creams in a cafe in the alley, and they were both silent for a while.

"I'm so glad that I could stay with you this holiday."

"Don't worry."

"No, but it's really been a relief. Avery had been on my back all term, and I couldn't face spending another holiday with James." Augustus gave an ironic smile, and licked the ice-cream he was holding.

"I get it. I'm glad though, it was fun." He leaned in slightly closer to Albus and then spoke. "Do you want to go and see Knockturn Alley?"

"Why? It's not that interesting down there."

"You've been there?"

"Yeah, once or twice. I used to sneak out of my house all of the time and try and see all of Wizarding London." Nott shook his head in disbelief.

"I have no idea how on earth you're a Potter. But anyway, you clearly weren't going to the right places." He grabbed Albus' hand and pulled him up as he stood. "Come on. Get your cloak and cover your face though, you look far too much like your father." Albus made a sour face at that comment, but complied and pulled his cloak over him and pushed up his hood. Both of them then walked out of the seating area of the cafe and moved up the alley before they found the little turning which led them down to Knockturn. Augustus led, and Albus went behind him, both fended off hags and other shady characters who were trying to offer them goods and they stopped in front of a shop named 'Borgin and Burkes'. "This is one of the coolest shops you'll ever see." Nott said before they stepped into the dark room. The shop was filled with all sorts of things, from skulls to decoy wands.

"How do you know about this place?"

"Everyone comes here." But Albus was too distracted to hear his answer, as he went off to inspect a stuffed phoenix, the bird looked as red as the real thing, and Albus was surprised when he touched it that it did not fly away. He jumped slightly when someone touched him on the shoulder, and he spun around. Standing behind him was an old man, with incredibly pale blue eyes and white hair, his skin looked as rough as leather, and Albus could guess that the man was ancient.

"Didn't you see the signs?" The man's voice sounded raspy, and Albus shook his head, only just noticing the 'Don't Touch' signs littered around the small shop.

"Sorry Mr Burke. I should have told him."

"Ah, young Mr Nott. How can I help you to-day?" The shopowner turned from Albus and focused his attention on the boy. "And who is your friend?"

"Oh. He's just a friend from school." The ancient man did not take that for an answer and quickly turned around and used his wand to push down the hood of Albus' cloak before he could stop him.

"Mr Potter, if I am correct?" Mute, Albus nodded and he swallowed slowly, suddenly aware of the saliva running down his throat. But the man simply chuckled. "I wonder what your father would say?"

"Don't scare off the customers Mr Burke." Another voice said, and man (who Albus assumed to be Borgin) came out of a door behind the counter, he too looked old but his eyes were darker and he had less of a foreboding feeling to him. The man then turned to look at him and Albus could see the surprise etched across his face. "Although I must admit this is rather interesting." Nott had remained silent throughout the entire conversation, but moved over to Albus and gave him a wink which seemed to say 'don't worry'. "What are you doing here then?"

"He's here with me." Finally Augustus spoke up, and Borgin relaxed.

"You're the rebellious one aren't you?" A jolt of surprise ran through him.

"Well, I hope that's not all I am known for." He said, turning the charm on. "But yes, I suppose I am."

"You're always welcome here then." The man smiled, and then continued. "But I am afraid that we're going out in a minute, so unless you are going to buy anything..."

"No, no. I don't think so." Albus nodded his head in agreement, and murmured a 'thank you' as they exited the shop. "It's quite cool isn't it?" Nott said, turning to him.

"Yeah. They're a bit scary though..."

"They're actually quite nice. I've known them all my life though. But come on, let's go and see the rest of this place before it gets dark."

–/

The night before Albus left to go back to school, he went to say his thanks to Nott's father in his study. The father and son looked very alike, rather like Albus and his dad, and so it was rather disconcerting in a way, after he had accepted Albus' thanks he turned and focused his eyes on him, and the atmosphere turned more serious.

"You know, you're not at all what I expected." Albus bit his lip, unsure whether to take the comment as a compliment or an insult. "I know you were sorted into Slytherin, but I still thought you'd be like your father. You're happy at home aren't you though?"

"Yeah, it's alright." He couldn't keep the slight tinge of dislike out of his voice but Nott's father did not seem to notice it.

"Well, listen, if you ever feel like it's a bit weird there, or they don't seem to understand you just come and stay with us for a while. Parents can sometimes get incredibly annoying, and from what Augustus tells me your siblings can be a bit of a nightmare."

"Thank you." Albus wasn't quite sure what to say, and so he remained silent and looked at the books on the shelves behind Augustus' father.

"But honestly, anytime, don't worry." He smiled, and Albus returned it with a smile of his own.

"I'll remember."

–/

Hogsmeade was nice in the summertime, it had an old fashioned feel to it, and the whole world seemed to be brighter to Albus to-day. He sat, with Augustus and Scorpius on the side of a grassy hill, drinking drinks that they had bought from a small shop nearby. Avery was of course, no where to be seen, but it did not really matter to Albus, as he hardly ever saw the boy anymore. Not after he had 'broken his trust'. He lay back, and rested his head on his cloak which had been bundled up into a make-shift pillow.

"You know, I wish moments like these would never end." Albus said as he watched the clouds pass along the blue sky.

"I know. As do I." Scorpius said, he too was in a similar position to Albus, while Augustus was sitting up, smoking a cigarette. A bush rustled behind them, and Albus quickly sat up and turned his head. He could make out a figure, and he called out.

"Who's there?" The voice that replied was the one he least wanted to hear.

"Just me, Albie." Albus suppressed a groan as his brother walked into sight, with two of his Gryffindor friends following behind. Augustus had stubbed out his cigarette as soon as he heard the noise, but the heady smell of smoke still lingered in the air. "What are you doing here?"

"Nothing."

"What's that smell?" One of the boys behind James questioned, and Albus moved his eyes away from James, and down to the ground where he studied the yellowed grass.

"What does it matter to you?" The hostility was clear in Augustus' voice, and Albus swallowed, this might turn a bit problematic. Scorpius was still laying down, and James focused his attention onto him.

"God Albus, you're such a disappointment to the family, hanging around with Notts and Malfoys. You know they tried to kill dad during the war?"

"They weren't alive you idiot." He replied venomously. "Merlin James, why can't you just leave me alone? Don't you have exams or something to revise for?"

"What? And miss spending time with my little brother?" His hand twitched, and Albus reached for his wand, praying that he wouldn't have to use it. "No need to get defensive." James said, after he noticed Albus' move.

"Oh for fuck's sake, just piss off." Scorpius finally spoke, clearly annoyed at having his relaxation interrupted.

"That's no way to speak to your friend's elder brother." Albus' brother replied mockingly, and Scorpius shook his head.

"I would give you respect, but you're not worthy. Now get out of here, and just leave us in peace." But James had other ideas, and the brown haired boy shook his head.

"I think we'll stay actually." And he moved to sit down, as did his friends, while Albus and his friends made to stand up.

"Do you know what, I don't think I'm the disappointment James, it's rather the opposite you see, just think what dad would say, seeing you act like a complete dick."

–/

Albus Potter: Dark horse of the Potter family?
– By Daily Prophet Writer

Ever since our favourite hero's son was sorted into Slytherin, we've had suspicions about his middle son's moral compass. But apparently, rather than reviling his house, he has said to be seen wondering around with scions of rather shady families, including the Nott heir (pictured). There are also claims that he had got into a fight with the eldest Potter son and has been fighting constantly with his family. But we shall have to wait and see whethe-

Albus abruptly stopped reading the newspaper, not wanting to read anymore of it's bile. The story was at the bottom of page four, but even so it made him want to walk into the Daily Prophet's offices and destroy the bloody place. Without hesitating he penned a letter to the newspaper.

/

Sir,

I find myself quite alarmed by the accusations about me that this newspaper has written. At first sight, the article printed in yesterday's (the twenty-seventh of August), seems harmless and simply a piece written for the dark amusement of your readers, but I believe that this paper's staff has forgot the problems that it could cause me. I would like to strongly refute the claims that I have seriously wounded my brother, in fact it was simply a bit of play fighting that got out of hand, and it was I who was injured. Along with this, the accusations that I am a so called 'dark horse' are completely unfounded, and I must say that this is libel. Please print a full retraction of the article.

Yours,

Albus Potter

/

"I saw your letter to the Daily Prophet." Maria told him as he took some food from the tray in front of him. Albus' jaw tightened.

"I hate that bloody newspaper."

"But it's true isn't it?"

"Sort of. Not really. James and I don't fight, we simply don't talk anymore." A sigh escaped his mouth. "You know, I wish I were never born a Potter."

"Some would kill to be in your position."

"I know." He took a bite of the chicken on his plate, chewed, and swallowed it before he talked again. "But it doesn't mean that I have to like it."

"Fair enough."

"So what are your family like?" Maria gave a small laugh, and then spoke.

"Normal I suppose. Dad lives in Italy, my mum's dead- but you knew that- but I have a step-mother who is alright."

"Is that why you never go home in the holidays?"

"What?"

"Living in Italy?"

"No, not really, it's easy enough to get a train from Kings Cross, Platform 8 and ¼ takes you to the Continent you know, but I can't ever be bothered." Albus gave an understanding nod.

"I might stay at school this Christmas, I'm not sure though."

"Well if you do, I'll be here."

–/

Albus,

Your Father and I saw with some consternation your letter to the Daily Prophet. As much as we agree with what is written in your letter, doing what you did will simply cause them to print more vitriol about you. Please do not do this again.

Mum

/

Albus screwed up the letter his mother had sent him, before replying. He noted the simple 'mum' at the end and a bubble of sadness came through him. It appeared that it was not just James who was against him now.

–/

Dear Mum,

I think that I am entitled to write letters to the Daily Prophet, if I so wish.

Albus

/

Rose passed him in the halls and he gave a mock bow as she did.

"Oh! Hail mighty prefect." She turned to him and glared.

"Shut up." But Albus didn't, and sunk to his knees mock worshipping her. He was in a particularly pissed off mood, and Rose was the unlucky member of his family to have passed by him. "Why are you such an idiot?"

"Will you forgive me for my sins?"

"Albus just piss off."

"How's the boyfriend?" He got to his feet quickly, waiting for Rose's reply. She was going out with a particularly offending Gryffindor names Molblaster, who never failed to try and annoy Albus.

"None of your business." She paused, and then chuckled to herself. "Are you so interested in my love life because you don't have one of your own?"

"I don't have the time for one." Rose rose a ginger eyebrow. "You know, too busy being evil and Slytheriny. Cursing First Years and stuff, I mean, having a girlfriend would just take up too much of my time as President of the Dark Arts club."

"Sure." She said as she walked away, and Albus cursed himself for having even brought the subject up.

–/

If Albus had not taken a wrong turn while looking for books on the properties of wormwood, he would have never strolled into the 'Fiction' section of the library. If he had never done that he would have never taken out a book of fairy-tales. But most importantly, if had not read that book of fairy-tales, he would have never realised that one of them was not one at all.

–/

"You're staying here for Christmas?" James asked him, he had caught him just as he was exiting the Great Hall; Albus gave a mute nod in response to the question. "Why?"

"I just can't be bothered to go home." His brother rose an eyebrow.

"Whatever."

–/

Albus walked uneasily into the Great Hall, and looked at the single table in the middle, in the place of the usual four tables. Not quite sure what to do, he wondered towards the table and sat down next to a Ravenclaw in his year named Fallows. Silently he ate his meal, wondering when Maria would wake up and come and eat with him, since it was awkward sitting with these people in other houses.

"Yeah, I thought that France would do way better than they did." A Gryffindor Fourth-Year said, he was deep in conversation with the Ravenclaw next to Albus and suddenly a great burst of courage blossomed in him.

"Well not really. You did hear about what happened the quarter-final match?" The two of them looked at him curiously, and the table became quite awkward. What was he expecting in the first place? Them to become great friends with him? He shook his head and grabbed a piece of bread. "Don't worry." And they went back to ignoring him.

–/

Although he felt slightly sad at Christmas, when he received presents from some of the members of his family, but he pushed down the feelings of regret. It would have been annoying to stay at home for the holidays, what with James being as annoying as ever, and the entire extended Weasley family invading Grimmauld Place. At least at Hogwarts he and Maria could wonder into Hogsmeade when they wished, and just chill out.

–/

"What happened between you and Michael?" Maria questioned him one day.

"Nothing. We just... fell apart I suppose."

–/

Grimmauld Place was as he remembered it, and he shut the door quietly behind him.

"This is it. Home sweet home." Maria looked around the dingy house, and made an expression of disgust.

"You English. Everywhere in this country is so run down!"

"Oi. Don't insult us." Albus said, with a smile on his face. "Mum! Dad!" He shouted after he moved towards the base of the stairs.

"Albus!" His mother came down the stairs, with a smile on her face. It did not seem as if it were put on, but one could never be sure. The two of them had been staying with Augustus for the first part of the Easter holidays, and for the second part Albus was going home for the first time in around six months. Augustus was supposed to come, but something came up meaning that he couldn't. His mother moved towards him and gave a him a huge hug, squeezing him quite tightly, but it didn't feel real. After they had finished he turned towards the girl standing behind him.

"Maria, this is my mother" and then he spun, "and mum, this is my friend Maria." The introduction was awkward, but thankfully brief, and he took Maria by the hand to show her the rest of the house.

–/

"You remember the story of the the three Hallows?" He asked Nott, as they sat behind Greenhouse No. 4.

"Yeah."

"What if it were real?"

"It isn't." Albus smirked, and took a puff from his cigarette.

"But what if it were?"

"I don't know. It'd be cool?" He blew out the smoke, and then lowered his voice slightly.

"You know how they told us that the Dark Lord's wand, the one that he stole, wasn't really the Elder Wand, that it was just a very powerful wand. How my father snapped it?"

"Yeah." Augustus leaned forward slightly and Albus continued.

"That's a lie. I know where the Cloak is, the Resurrection Stone is somewhere in the Forbidden Forest, and as for the Elder Wand, surely it could not be destroyed by something as simple as snapping it in half."

"But how do you know that it's true?"

"I remembered something my father told me a while ago. We used to get him to recite tales of the war to us, and one day he slipped up from the official Ministry version he had obviously concocted, I can't remember it was something like 'but of course Sirius and Dad were there'. Anyway, the Cloak has been passed through my family and I currently have it in my possession." Albus' green eyes flashed slightly, and a shiver passed through Nott as it did. "But imagine how much power I could have as the Master of Death? Imagine it. I could destroy the Ministry, I could bring the Dark Arts back to their proper place, I could create a whole new world where the sons and daughters of Death-Eaters weren't reviled for their parents sins. There could be a new world." A bolt of excitement went through Albus as he saw Augustus' growing interest, their cigarettes forgotten.

"But why are you telling me this?"

"Because I don't want to do this alone."

–/

"So you and Nott plan to become Dark Lords?" Scorpius was leaning against the side of one of the beds, facing Albus and Augustus.

"No. We don't want to become Dark Lords."

"Albus, you just said you want to bring the Dark Arts back to their proper place." He commented dryly.

"Yeah, but not like that. We just don't want them to be regarded as they are." Scorpius nodded, but didn't look convinced.

"And your theories about mudbloods?" Albus winced slightly at the use of the word, but then spoke.

"Well. Most of the changes to our world are because they don't like the way it is run. So maybe if they were educated slightly better about our world before Hogwarts, maybe then they wouldn't try to change this just because it wasn't 'modern' or whatever." He noticed Scorpius' interested expression and then continued. "I mean, think about our History of Magic class, all of the Muggleborns are consistently going on about how horrible wizards were to goblins, without seeing it from the other perspective. Or when we went on the trip to the Ministry, they were all muttering about how inefficient it was, but then that Muggleborn witch, Kirk or whatever, went and changed it all and now it takes years to achieve anything because they've put in automated systems. I don't mind Muggleborns, Merlin, my grandmother was one. But it's just that they need to understand things from our perspective as well, they do a Muggle-Studies class for us, but they don't do a Wizard-Studies class for them." The blond boy gave a nod.

"I agree. But the whole mess with the Dark Lord means that it's practically impossible to get anything done about all of this. The moment anyone says anything like that they're denounced as a Death-Eater." A wide smile erupted on Albus' face.

"Ah." He paused for effect. "But we have something they don't."

–/

It had been gnawing at him for days, perhaps it was because he hadn't had a cigarette since the end of the Summer term, or the fact that James had accused him of becoming a Death-Eater but one night, at supper, he couldn't stand it anymore. His father had tried to defuse the situation, but it seemed as if both his mother and James were ganging up on him because of the fact that there had been an attack on a muggle village the night before and both the elder Nott and Avery had been implicated in the attack.

"They're Death-Eaters, Albus!" James shouted across the table.

"The Dark Lord is dead James." He replied quietly, before noticing his slip up. He had picked up the habit of referring to Voldemort as the Dark Lord from his friends, although he had no admiration for the man. But James had picked up the mistake.

"The Dark Lord?" James laughed hollowly. "Who calls Voldemort that? Unless..." He had trailed off, the implication clear. The candles flickered slightly, and there was a moment of silence at the table, Lily sat looking at her hands, while his mother glared at him slightly.

"James, I'm sure he didn't mean it like that." His father said after a moment, but Albus couldn't stop the anger bubbling up in him.

"What are you accusing me of?" Green eyes flashed slightly, and it took everything in him to stop himself launching across the table at James. "That I'm a Death-Eater? That I admire Him?"

"Yes." His brother said firmly and Albus felt his eyes grow wet with frustration.

"Fuck you." James stood up quickly, causing his chair to fall to the floor. Albus remained seated in his place, but his hands were shaking with anger and he held his knife in his hand.

"You are nothing but a Death-Eater. The moment you were sorted into Slytherin I knew that you were evil!"

"James, sit down!" His father shouted across the table, but he ignore him. Albus smiled sardonically.

"There's no point dad. He's too pig-headed to listen to you. But I understand, I never fitted in to this family after I was sorted. It never matter to you, or Lily, but to mum and James..." His mother tried to protest, but he talked over her. "I don't hold it against you, I don't. Frankly I don't care anymore. I have friends, and do you know what they're far better than family." Slowly he rose to his feet, and he lay down the napkin that was in his lap on the table. "I'll soon be out of your hair, don't worry, but I just have to do this, and Merlin, I've been wanting to do this for a long time." And with that, he punched James square in the face, his mother shrieked, and James gathered himself but not quickly enough to punch Albus who had already walked out of the room. As fast as possible he ran up the stairs, shoved his most precious belongings into his trunk, spelled it weightless with his spare wand and shrunk it before shoving it into his pocket. "Kreacher!" He called hastily, he could already hear James coming up the stairs, and so he flicked his wand and his door shut and locked. There was a pop and the house-elf appeared in the room.

"Yes Master Albus."

"Collect the rest of my belongings and send them to me when you can."

"Of course." He could hear James banging on his door, and Mrs Black screaming in the hallway. It was all utter chaos, but he faced the facts and pulled open the door. His father had come up the stairs and cast a spell at James which caused him to freeze and Albus smiled; walked out the door and trotted down the stairs. His mother was at the bottom, while his father was behind him.

"I can't say I'll be sad to say goodbye mum," but he gave her a hug nevertheless, "bye dad," he said without turning and blew a kiss to Lily and mouthed sorry, "and James," he said as he turned his head, "I'll repeat myself. Fuck you." With that he strolled to the front door, and like Sirius Black many years before him, opened it without looking back and walked out into the pouring rain.

END OF PART ONE